Can we earn money through our online guitar lessons?
December 22, 2009 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to earn revenues through our guitar lesson videos online?

Myself and a couple of friends create guitar lessons which are currently posted to Youtube. We enjoy helping people to learn the guitar as well as the positive feedback we get.

We would enjoy it even more if we could earn some revenue from our efforts. Most of our lessons are based on popular songs. We show the chords and will play the first few notes of each section of a song.

Are there any services where we could post our videos and get some income?

We're based in South Africa so the Youtube partner program isn't an option for us. If we were in the US/UK would we be eligible for the Youtube partner program? I remember that Justin's videos were temporarily suspended quite a while ago but he is obviously very active currently.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My suggestion would be to put the videos on your own website. Use YouTube, Google Video, etc only for a few teaser video's. These should be used to attract visitors to your own website.

On your website you can offer many many more tutorial videos etc in a "members-only" area for a (recurring?) fee.
posted by IAr at 1:23 PM on December 22, 2009

I think you should keep the videos on Youtube, but end every episode with "to buy the EXPANDED lesson on DVD, as well as additional exercises, drills, and tips - visit our website at...".
posted by exhilaration at 1:30 PM on December 22, 2009

Whatever you put up would have to be very good, because there are loads of "learn 3 chords and play a song" type guitar lessons available for free online. So you would probably have to do what the posters above have suggested with adding additional paid content.

I have been playing the guitar for years and I am self-taught. I can find tons of the Justin Guitar type stuff all over the internet. But I already know enough chords to play your standard pop song. Most people can learn how to do that pretty easily and move past that stage of learning in a few months.

What I'd be more interested in would be exercises to improve technique, scales, fingering drills, music theory, etc. I would happily pay for really excellent lessons that are beyond the basics.
posted by howrobotsaremade at 2:26 PM on December 22, 2009

I've paid for memberships for a couple of "find the full lesson on our web site" places, so that works sometimes.

The biggest problem you'll run into is that the record companies want to destroy you for using copyrighted material. This is very very stupid, but it's true. So you won't get into Youtube's partner program because of the copyrighted material, and you should expect to have your account suspended at some point.

If you use Youtube strictly to promote your site and host most of your videos at your own site, you might be better off.

Some people also do one-on-one video lessons (over Skype or equivalent) for money, or sell DVDs of lessons.
posted by mmoncur at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2009

We do have a website and have considered some of the approaches mentioned. However the appeal of just posting the videos to an external service is that there is less maintenance involved.

mmoncur - I realize that this is quite a gray area in terms of copyright. That is why I mentioned Justin's case; his account was suspended at one point for this reason. However it was then re-instated and the record companies seem to be turning a blind eye to him and thousands of others (I use him as an example specifically because he is big enough that he will obviously have been noticed). I recognize the part played by the song (and hence the original artist) in what we do, so I'd be happy to share revenues with them were it possible to do so (maybe this isn't such a distant fantasy).

howrobotsaremade - you are right, we are definitely not the first to be doing this. I think there is a lot of space in this arena though. A lot of our viewers really enjoy our style of videos, so I think our videos have some appeal in that regard.

I guess I was hoping that there was an alternate video sharing site that allowed revenue sharing of advertising and was popular enough to be viable. I remember looking specifically at revver in the past which does this, but the view counts of their videos seem to be quite low.

Thanks for the responses.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 7:51 PM on December 22, 2009

The trouble is JustinGuitar is pretty much how you should set up. He has a great lesson structure, great level of humor and teaching. AND it is all free - he makes money selling stuff - dvd's of the free lessons and donations.
posted by lamby at 9:00 AM on December 23, 2009

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